In July, Pageflakes plans to unveil the latest version of its personalized home page (the release is dubbed Blizzard). Along with the 120,000 public Pagecasts members have already created (here is mine), Pageflakes will be adding Pagecasts from media partners including CBS, The Washington Post, Time, and People (the latter two are sister publications of Business 2.0.). A Pagecast is simply a programmed Webpage with news feeds, photo feeds, video and other widgets that the creator decides to place there.
What's most exciting, though, about Blizzard is that it takes the first step towards turning Pageflakes into a social network. For the first time, members will be able to establish a public profile and there will be a "People" tab added to the site. Members will be able to subscribe to other people's Pagecasts. In other words, the will be able to subscribe to all the feeds and widgets that person is paying attention to. Pageflakes CEO Dan Cohen, who used to run MyYahoo and Google's personalized page, tells me:
It is a basic version of a social network. We are doing social networking through shared interests. You can even let certain people edit your page. So you can use it as a wiki of widgets.
What Cohen is doing with Pageflakes is combining two powerful online tools: the personalized page with the social network. Personalized pages like Pageflakes and Netvibes are the ultimate expression of the movable Web, where every piece of content and every little Web app becomes a widget you can place anywhere else on the Web. It allows people to program their own pages by remixing the Web. But the next step is sharing those pages with others.
Social networks like Facebook are approaching this from the other end. They already have the social connections, but they are opening up their platforms to make it easier for their members to import other parts of the Web onto their personal pages. Destination sites that ignore either of these trends do so at their peril.